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You’ll Never Have Enough Staff Until you _____ Enough Stuff.

Business Friends,

I’m taking the liberty to call all of you friends as some of you have taken the liberty to give me a new name when I checked out at your store. But before I tell you about that let’s begin at the beginning of my visit and work to the end.

As I shop this spring it is obvious that one of the biggest opportunities you have is to sell more stuff to the customers in your store right now. So what’s getting in the way of that?

Just the same as in previous years, I walk through stores from front to back and then back to the front and repeat the process. I am NEVER (okay, rarely) spoken to even though there are plenty of employees that I walk by as they are busy adding more stuff apparently for someone else who arrives after I leave to buy.

Instead of selling more of what you already have to customers already in your store, everyone is focused on adding more stuff that won’t be bought by the customers who are already there.

In my estimation, the lost opportunity from this lack of proper focus is in the 15-25% range. Can you really afford to miss that much? Are you confident that enough customers will keep on coming in to make up for what you’re missing now?

When you’re really busy you can’t have enough people to help every customer. I get that. Still, there is opportunity, but you’ll have to stop making it harder for the customers already in your store to shop. As I fight to get my cart through your stores I have to think that it might be better if you saved some room for me to get through to see more of less stuff. Think about it.

When I do manage to buy something and go to the checkout I am essentially ignored there too. The most recognition I get is to have my apparently new name printed on the receipt – “Cash Customer”. Since this is my last impression of your store, it is the most recent impression. If it is underwhelming I am highly unlikely to return soon, much less to excitedly tell friends why they should come to you.

So, what are you going to do about it?

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It Ain’t _ _ _ _ Until It’s Over.

This is addressed mainly to garden centers that are located in the areas that experienced a very strong and warm early spring, a very wet and cool early May, followed by recent high humidity and daytime temperatures. This year that covers most of you.

In the past several days I’ve talked with several garden centers and found all of them to say something to the effect that there was NO WAY they could make up what they’re behind this year. I think they are WRONG. Continue reading

Is THIS a Fair Test?

Read Time: Approximately 2 minutes.

NOTE: Click HERE to read a November 10, 2009 follow-up to this post titled “Fair Follow-Up to Proven Winners Fair Test?”

You’ve probably read or will soon about yet another recent case study claiming again that branded plants outsold non-branded 5:1. CLICK HERE to go to a report on the research in Garden Center Magazine’s OPEN REGISTER blog.

A Fair Test?

A Fair Test?

Maybe I just don’t understand how  anyone could dispute the results of the study after looking at the photo of the two displays that consumers compared. What were they trying to prove? I would HOPE that the display in the foreground would outperform the other.

Which bench would you lead a well-heeled customer to if the grass is even damp? One is on a gravel paved area, and the other on grass. What would we see if we watched the customers approach identical benches in the same physical environment? Continue reading

Handling Haggling

Handing MoneyHaggling on the Rise

The introduction of the new Taggle concept for in-store bidding on merchandise at participating retailers brought about a plethora of media reports on the haggling fad. Now some retailers are adopting haggling procedures and training their associates. Don’t fall for it.

Continue reading

Please Do This When a Customer Interrupts You . . .

A Strategy for Sales Success:

This?

“When a customer does interrupt you..just talk to them…and they’ll probably buy something.” As was told to me in February 2009 by the owner of a retail garden center concerning their plans for improving results for the spring of 2009. He figured that realistically, if he could just get his merchandise focused people to give a little attention to frustrated customers it would be an improvement over the previous years performance and would lead to increased sales. Kind of makes some sense does it not?

Continue reading

How to participate in the recession . . .

How much are plants worth this spring?

How do the rules of doing business during recession apply to you?

While it could be good advice to follow a growing trend of people who have decided not to participate in this recession, even better advice may be to participate fully in the effects the economic downturn is causing.

Should you make sure you get your share of any government stimulus money opportunities? Or, should you pay more attention to the way you run your business and get everything lined up to increase sales and margin dollars this year?

The news on early spring gardening interest is much better than anyone anticipated six months ago, or even three months ago.  I hope you are not getting tired of hearing about it in all the garden center industry news yet! The question is, are you ready to make everything you can of it, without hanging your backside out so far you cannot recover if it falls short.

Continue reading

What Would Happen If You Could . . .

High Average Sale 2008 The Garden Center Group

What does it take to get the dramatically higher average transactions shown by the green line on this chart from The Garden Center Group ?

What would happen if you could increase your average transaction dramatically THIS year?

To find out what would happen do the Merchan+ Ma+h

Continue reading

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